There is a growing awareness of how floodplain habitats contribute to global biodiversity and of the benefits of undrained floodplain ecosystems, for example: floodwater storage and improvement of water quality. Yet floodplain habitats in Britain are much diminished, with a recent survey showing only 4.2% of lowland river sites, with adjacent floodplain, had extensive wetlands remaining. This Agenda 21 pilot project addresses issues raised by local communities in six parishes along the Upper Nene Valley, in Northamptonshire. These include intensive agriculture, biodiversity conservation, recent serious flooding, gravel extraction and the pressure for housing developments. The project aims to increase the local community's environmental awareness, develop links with farmers and businesses and provide a valuable input to planning policies. Partners include the parish councils and residents within the project area, South Northamptonshire Council and University College Northampton. This paper describes the project vision and initial steps taken to involve local communities in ecological and archaeological surveys.